FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – As the probe into what caused last Friday’s fiery plane crash in Ft. Lauderdale intensifies, the widow of the pilot says she is convinced the plane experienced catastrophic mechanical failure.

A distraught Kim Waller told CBS4’s Joan Murray that she is still in shock over the sudden death of her husband of 16 years.

“He meant everything to me, he was an excellent pilot,” said Waller. “He would do anything for anyone.”

Steve Waller was piloting the turboprop plane that crashed and burned minutes after taking off from the Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport.

Waller was killed along with Wally Watson and his son, Kevin Watson.

“He was just helping a friend, doing a favor,” explained Kim Waller.

Waller says her husband who flew planes for several wealthy clients agreed to take the plane up for a quick instrument check.

The Watson’s owned an avionics engineering firm at the airport.

“I know Steven would have never taken that plane up, if he had any doubts whatsoever with it, but then he wouldn’t have known the mechanics because he didn’t own that aircraft,” said Kim Waller.

CBS4 tried to reach the owner of the plane at Miami Aviation Specialist Inc. in Ft. Lauderdale.  An employee said he was meeting with his lawyer and had been talking to the National Transportation Safety Board.

The NTSB says it is reviewing the maintenance records on the plane, transmissions with the tower and looking at the pilot’s history.

“He never took chances.  He double and triple checked everything he did.  He was excellent.  It’s sad,” said Waller.

Waller says she is still waiting on positive identification from the Medical Examiner’s Office and the family has not scheduled a funeral service for Steven Waller.


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